Britain's Oldest Person Dies

Britain's oldest person Gladys Hooper has died on the Isle of Wight at the age of 113.

Her son Derek Hermiston confirmed that his mother, a former concert pianist, had died at the nursing home where she lived in Ryde.

Mr Hermiston, 85, said on Saturday night: ``She passed away, she just faded, 113 and a half is a good old age.

"We saw her this morning, she seemed reasonably well, she was sleeping. We had left her for just about an hour when they called us to tell us she had passed away.''

When she celebrated her last birthday, the great-grandmother said: ``I don't feel very different to when I was 75.''

Mrs Hooper broke a Guinness World Record last year when she became the oldest person to undergo a hip replacement operation which was carried out by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Jason Millington at St Mary's Hospital in Newport.

Following the operation, she moved into the Highfield Nursing Home in Ryde from a flat connected to the home of her son Derek Hermiston, 85, where she had lived for 12 years.

Mrs Hooper was widowed in 1988 when her husband, Leslie, who was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps in the two world wars, died.

She had another great link to aviation as she was good friends at college with Amy Johnson who became a famous aviatrix.

Born Gladys Nash on January 18 1903, she was brought up in Rottingdean, Brighton, East Sussex, and went on to study at college.

She became a concert pianist in London and played with famous band leaders of the time such as Jack Payne, Debroy Somers and Maurice Winnick.

She also started what is thought to be the first car hire company in the capital and later ran Kingscliff House School, which is now Brighton College, as well as nursed her husband for 13 years.

According to the website Oldest In Britain, the next oldest person in the country is Bessie Camm, who is 112 years old and is from Rotherham.

The Gerontology Research Group had listed Mrs Hooper as the 12th oldest in the world.

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